Elvexys uses LoRa to detect power grid failures

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Elvexys is working with Oiken, a Swiss distributor of electricity serving 90,000 end customers, on an Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled sensor for the power grid.

Elvexys uses LoRa devices from Semtech using LoRaWAN connectivity to provide real-time data to Oiken’s supervision control room when a power grid failure is detected. According to Oiken, using the LoRaWAN standard for smart grid monitoring was simple to integrate into their existing SCADA process control system and easy to deploy in the field, reducing deployment times and costs for a complete solution.

“Before implementing IoT sensors, when a power failure was detected, there was no instant communication of the short circuit, which was costly to locate and fix,” said Alain Perruchoud, converged network director at Oiken. “Now as new sensors implementing LoRaWAN are available for the power substation and can watch enabling instant relay of such critical data, we can monitor better the power grids in real time and dispatch an operator exactly where short circuit failures occurred.”

The sensor system developd by Elvexys for Oiken was validated by Oiken in power substations. The short circuit sensor comes in two parts: the communication module installed on a DIN rail in a cabinet and the Rogowski coil which measures current on cable directly and detects the peak current caused typically by the short circuits. Oiken and Elvexys claim that without implementing LoRaWAN into the solution, the solution would cost about 10 times more and require 20 years to deploy.

 “Elvexys and Oiken’s deployment of LoRaWAN is showcasing the value of IoT and low power, wide area networks (LPWAN) to improve utilities infrastructure to become smarter and more effective,” said Marc Pégulu, vice president of IoT product marketing and strategy for Semtech’s Wireless and Sensing Products Group. “As power failures are detected and fixed instantly, the technology is providing benefits not only to the utilities companies, but also the citizens who depend on the reliable infrastructure.”;

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